Last first doses of Pfizer vaccine administered
Bermuda’s stockpile of the Covid-19 vaccine has all but run out – with no plan in place to replenish supplies.
Government last night did not respond to questions about how many first doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered through yesterday.
The Pfizer vaccine expires at the end of the month, meaning first doses of the vaccine had to be delivered by yesterday because the second dose must be given in three weeks at the earliest.
Any vaccines not needed for second doses will now have to be disposed of.
Last Thursday, Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, acknowledged that there enough doses for 2,500 people who had not yet been vaccinated.
There were also around 220 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine available, Ms Wilson said.
Since then, a further 3,005 doses were administered, but it is not known how many of those were first doses and how many were second doses.
The Government said last night that as of Friday, 53.8 per cent of the population – around 34,700 people – were classed as immunised, having had two doses of the vaccine.
A further 4,800 people – 7.5 per cent of the population – had had one jab.
Last night, UK officials confirmed that there were no immediate plans to provide Bermuda with further supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a statement, Government House said that “there is no date at present for a future delivery of vaccines from the UK”.
A spokeswoman for the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office added: “Discussions will continue about further demand for vaccines within Bermuda’s adult population.”.
Michael Dunkley, the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance health spokesman, said the news was “worrying”.
Mr Dunkley said: “In light of the statement from Government House, the Government needs to clarify what the plan is.
“Bermuda was blessed to have the support of the UK in obtaining our Pfizer vaccine supply – at no cost.
“It is a shame that while other jurisdictions have used the UK supply given to them and countries around the world struggle to obtain vaccine supplies, we have not been able to use our supply in a timely manner.”
Mr Dunkley added: “The people of Bermuda deserve an update from the Government as to how much, if any, of the Pfizer vaccine is unable to be used by the end of the day.
“In addition, as we still have a long way to go to reach community immunity, information should be provided to the public in regards to when needed supplies of a vaccine will arrive on the island and what brand it will be."
Mr Dunkley also took aim at earlier Government pledges that herd immunity – where 70 per cent of the population has received two shots of the vaccine – would be reached by the end of May.
He said: “Unfortunately, that date has come and gone and our rate is barely above 50 per cent.
“Adding to the concern of vaccine hesitancy is the fact that a vital tool, many consider the key in pushing back Covid – vaccines – are potentially going to waste.
“At this juncture it looks like it will take many more weeks to reach the critical herd immunity target, and some now doubt it will be obtained.”
Ms Wilson said tonight: “Our last first-dose vaccines were administered today, and the response was good.
“I encourage anyone who wants to be vaccinated to please register your interest at https://vaccine.resqwest.com/web/.
“We will order more vaccines if we have the need.”
The Royal Gazette asked Government for an update on the latest vaccine figures and stock levels this week.
Questions were also put to the Department of Health and David Burt, the Premier, for details on when and how vaccine stocks would be topped up and if there were concerns that herd immunity would not be achieved.
A spokeswoman for the department of health said: “The UK has committed to providing Bermuda with Covid-19 vaccines as long as we have the need.
“We do anticipate most doses will be used with the 12-15 year olds recently being approved to receive the vaccine.
“Using the current supply of the Pfizer vaccines will assist in us sourcing more vaccine doses from the UK.”
Government did not respond to requests last night on whether all of the Pfizer vaccine first doses were used, and if not, how many would have to be disposed of.
Nigel Adams, the UK Government’s spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said in the House of Commons on Monday that 64 per cent of Bermuda’s adult population had received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mr Adams told Parliamentary colleagues that the UK was committed to ensuring that its Overseas Territories were supplied with the vaccine.
He said: “The UK Government has committed to supply Covid-19 vaccines for the people of the Overseas Territories.
“The FCDO has been arranging deliveries and vaccines have now been delivered to all 12 permanently inhabited territories, most recently the Pitcairn Islands and Tristan da Cunha, but also to South Georgia.
“Further deliveries are anticipated to complete the programmes over the coming weeks.”
Mr Adams told British MPs that five Overseas Territories had higher vaccination rates than Bermuda.
Gibraltar, the Falklands, St Helena, and Ascension, have all passed the 90 per cent mark and 70 per cent of the population of the Cayman Islands has been immunised.
Bermuda’s sixth place puts it ahead of the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, South Georgia, Turks & Caicos and Tristan da Cunha.